Gulf Coast Beaches
The Northern Panhandle of Florida is home to many wonderful Gulf Coast beaches and related attractions. Many area residents and other tourists travel to St. George Island (directions below) and nearby Apalachicola, a fishing village that now attracts many tourists with its bed and breakfasts, restaurants, shops and charm. Other, smaller beaches somewhat closer to Tallahassee are also described below. In addition, you may wish to explore points farther west, including Panama City Beach, Destin and other Panhandle beaches.
St. George Island
This popular 29-mile (47 km) barrier island beach, about 80 miles (130 km) southwest of Tallahassee, offers pristine, clear water. Hotel/motel rooms and many vacation rentals are available. The island features St. George Island State Park (850-927-2111) where visitors can swim (no lifeguard), shell, boat, fish, RV/tent camp, hike trails and use picnic tables with shelters, grills, restrooms and showers. Restaurants and convenience stores are on island.
Natural dune public beach, moderately clear water. No public facilities or lifeguard. Nearby fishing villages offer accommodations, campgrounds, restaurants, gas and grocery stores. 45 miles (72 km) south of Tallahassee, US 98 cross the bridge at Panacea and turn left on CR 370. Tel. (850) 653-9419.
Coarse public beach, moderately clear water. It has swimming, shelling, restrooms and picnic tables with shelters. No lifeguard. The Moorings offers accommodations, dining, boat charters and other recreational activities. 60 miles (95 km) southwest of Tallahassee, US 98. Tel. (850) 697-2800.
Great winter retreat! Boating, fishing, snorkeling, swimming, picnicking and more. No lifeguard. Nearby amenities/accommodations include Eagle's Nest, 2-3 bedroom beach houses, (850) 584-7666. 70 miles (112 km) east of Tallahassee. Tel. (850) 584-5366.
Pristine sandy beach accessible only by boat or airplane, clear water. Private charters/ferry from Carrabelle. No public facilities or lifeguard. 60 miles (95 km) southwest of Tallahassee, US 98. Tel. (850) 653-9419.
Mashes Sands Beach
Public beach, shallow bay water. Swimming, crabbing, picnic tables, shelters, grills, snack bar, restrooms and showers. No lifeguard. Posey's Motel and Restaurant offers accommodations and dining. Campgrounds, gas and grocery stores also nearby. 40 miles (65 km) southwest of Tallahassee, US 98 turn left before the bridge at Panacea. Tel. (850) 926-1848 or (850) 984-0180.
Lovely, small peninsula surrounded by St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Secluded beach and clear water. Popular for sailing and wind surfing. Nearby Shell Point Resort offers accommodations, dining, marina, boat rentals/charters, fishing, golf and more. No lifeguard. 25 miles (40 km) south of Tallahassee, Hwy. 367. Tel. (850) 926-7163 or (800) 926-7163.
St. Marks is a small town about 18 miles (29 km) south of the Magnet Lab, located where the St. Marks and Wakulla rivers empty into the Gulf of Mexico. It offers several restaurants as well as San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park, featuring the ruins of a centuries-old fort. St. Marks is also at the end of the Tallahassee/St. Marks Historic Railroad Trail, a 16-mile (26 km) paved trail popular with bicyclists that begins in Tallahassee. The nearby St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge covers 68,000 acres and is popular with boaters, anglers, bikers (both on and off-road), hikers, birders and hunters. It features a diversity of birds and other wildlife that live in or migrate through its coastal marshes, islands, tidal creeks and estuaries. Its handsome lighthouse is not open to the public.
Wakulla Springs State Park
Wakulla Springs State Park, located 14 miles (22 km) south of Tallahassee, is a unique gem of a park and a popular tourist attraction. It features boat rides on the Wakulla River that showcase the river and its wildlife, a swimming area, miles of hiking trails and a quaint inn and restaurant.